Elizabethan Era

The Tudors Era

Jacobean Era

Medieval Woodwind Instruments List



Despite the fact that there were many new musical instruments being developed during the Tudor period, many of the traditional medieval woodwind instruments were still played regularly. Through the combination of different instruments being played together new music was developed and the foundations laid for the modern orchestra.

Types of Woodwind Instruments in medieval times

Some of the medieval woodwind instruments played by the Tudors are still recognisable in today's orchestra. The flute for example, as well as the trumpet date back to the Middle Ages. The pipe was a simple wind instrument with only three holes to play. The recorder was a popular instrument of the time, again a simple instrument which is now more commonly played by children. Bagpipes were also common especially amongst the poorest in the land. They would create their bagpipes using either a sheep or a goats skin with reed pipes.

Unusual medieval wind instruments

The more unusual wind instruments are no longer in use; though in some of them lay the foundation for musical instruments of the future. The shawm for example was an instrument made from reeds with vent holes, this being the predecessor to the hautboy. The hautboy itself was to be viewed as being the ancestor of the modern oboe as it used a reed for sound. The crumbhorn was a double reeded instrument which was introduced during the 15th century, and took the form of a curved horn. Another horn was the gemshorn which was crafted from ox bone and resembled a flute. The lizard was another horn, this time shaped like an 'S'. While the sackbut could be regarded as the predecessor of the modern trombone.

Tudor Musical Instruments Facts

Being able to play an instrument was seen as a positive social skill. King Henry himself was an accomplished musician as was his daughter Elizabeth. Music was important during this period in history, it brought people together not only in church but also in celebration. A wind instrument definition would describe and instrument that makes a sound when air is blown through it. Wind instruments include flutes, reed made instruments, brass or metal instruments and organs such as those used in the churches.

Each wind instrument requires the player to learn a different technique; different instruments require different fingering positions, different lip positions and a certain amount of breath control. Though the crumbhorn was popular in the sixteenth century it is known to date from the fourteenth century. The three holed pipe could be played with only one hand which meant that the player could use his other hand to play something else, most commonly this was a tabour drum. Many of the wind instruments played during the Tudor period were introduced to England from overseas from across Europe, and from as far away as Africa and the Middle East.

Interesting Facts about the Trumpet

Unlike the trumpet in today's orchestra, the medieval trumpet had no valves for the fingers to press to create the different notes. In fact these were not introduced into the design until the nineteenth century. The medieval trumpet was long and straight, they made a powerful noise and were used during important occasions such as royal weddings. The trumpet was regarded as being one of the three most important instruments of the time, along with the harp and the fiddle.

   
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